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Stress triggers diabetes

High stress levels is also a factor that triggers early onset of diabetes in those with a genetic pre-disposition, reports Neha Bhayana.

mumbai Updated: Nov 15, 2009 00:46 IST
Neha Bhayana

Shweta Lamba (name changed) wishes she had not taken too much tension during her Class 10 Board exams.

Although the 17-year-old from Vashi is proud of the 80 per cent she scored, the stress precipitated Type 2 diabetes.

“About four days after the exam, she got breathless and fainted,” said her mother. Tests revealed her blood glucose level was way above normal.

“It was shocking. Neither my husband nor I have diabetes. Shweta lost a lot of weight during Class 10 but diabetes never crossed our minds,” she said.

A growing number of children and teenagers are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, traditionally seen in the elderly.

Though obesity is the main cause in 85 to 90 per cent of such cases, high stress levels is also a factor that triggers early onset of diabetes in those with a genetic pre-disposition.

Doctors said competition in academics and at workplace was literally “unhealthy”.

“I see many IT professionals who develop diabetes in their early 20s due to work stress,” said Dr Abhay Mutha, president of Diabetes Care and Research Foundation in Pune.

Endocrinologist Dr Nadeem Rais recounted the case of a 23-year-old whose blood sugar level shot up to 720mg/dl%, above the normal 150mg/dl%. “He was under pressure to repay a business loan,” he said.

Young girls with polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal disorder, are also prone to Type 2 diabetes in their teens. Doctors said that diabetes at a young age could have serious repercussions on one’s health. “The patient can develop high cholesterol and get coronary artery disease leading to heart attacks at an early age,” said Dr Anil Boraskar, a diabetologist attached to Raheja Hospital.

(This is the last of a two-part series on the rising incidence of Type 2 diabetes among children and teenagers)